Vox Media is laying off 6% of its staff, or about 72 employees, as advertising revenues fell in the middle of quarantine virus quarantine.
The majority of those laid off were overwhelmed by the company earlier this year, CEO Jim Bankoff said in an email to employees received by CNBC. Vox eliminates roles that have “experienced significant changes in workload or business priority; in some cases, they are in areas undergoing a strategic change accelerated by the crisis and its rapid changes in our industry.”
Some other employees who do not have floods will be affected as well, Bankoff said. Vox takes back about 30% of the employees who were flooded in the spring. CNBC reported on the upcoming layoffs earlier this week.
While Vox reached its revenue targets for the first two months of 2020, Vox was 40% off its second-quarter forecast and plans to miss its full-year target of 25%, two of the people said, CNBC reported.
Media companies in the United States have been forced to cut salaries and staff during the coronavirus pandemic to compensate for lost advertising revenue. Vox avoided redundancies earlier this year with wage cuts and fjord robberies. Vox will reintroduce full pay after temporarily reducing pay in May, excluding Bankoff and his executive team, Bankoff said.
“When we merged with New York Media last year, we did everything we could to avoid layoffs ̵
Vox Media owns news, technology and cultural sites such as Vox, The Verge, New York Magazine, Eater, SBNation and Curbed.
Here is the whole letter:
With deep sadness and as a result of the pandemic and its devastating impact on the economy, I am writing to inform you that today we will inform some of our colleagues that they will no longer have jobs at Vox Media.
It goes without saying that COVID-19 has had an impact that no one could have foreseen. Obviously, we realize first and foremost the tragedy and extent of the public health crisis. In the resulting economic downturn between the media and other industries, companies are reorienting their operations to reduce spending and save cash while remaining in an extremely unpredictable environment. Although our work and efforts have never been stronger or more relevant, Vox Media is no exception to the pain caused by the wake of the pandemic. Like others, we have had to make difficult decisions to position our business for long-term growth, success and financial sustainability. At the same time, we make every reasonable effort to save as many jobs as possible and prioritize health, safety and welfare for those who will leave as well as those who will stay with our company.
We lay off 6% of our employees. These layoffs include flooded colleagues as well as other employees who were not at furlough. The roles involved have experienced significant changes in workload or business priority; in some cases, they are in areas undergoing a strategic change accelerated by the crisis and its rapid changes in our industry. The majority of those affected today were flooded in May. We already have or will return close to 30% of the employees who have not received redemptions.
Our hope in May was that business would return in the following months. As we discussed in last week’s all-hands, it is becoming increasingly clear that the second half of the year will not recover anywhere near our pre-COVID forecasts. As matters tragically rise across the country and many of our elected leaders avoid decisive action, we also have very limited visibility in the timing or strength of a recovery.
As we have said since the beginning of the crisis and hopefully showed you our actions over the past five months, our priority in this pandemic has been the well-being of our team. Consequently, the affected employees will receive health insurance and severance packages that recognize the crisis unparalleled.
I also hope that it is clear that we are a company that does not take these measures lightly. Neither furloughs nor today’s actions were considered before this pandemic. As I mentioned earlier, we actually did everything we could to avoid layoffs when we merged with New York Media last year – and as a result, we were the only newer media merger to keep our teams intact.
We expect, based on our current outlook, that the difficult measures we are taking today will be sufficient to weather this downturn and uncertainty without the need for significant further action. While still thinking about costs, where necessary and possible, we will reinvest in our business and our people in ways that are crucial to building the leading modern media company during this time:
- We will continue to prioritize our diversity, capital and inclusion work, invest in partnerships that drive this work forward and embed responsibility for this work in each of our networks and industries.
- We will reintroduce full pay as planned, following the temporary and level level we implemented in May. We believe it is crucial to fully compensate our employees for their work during a time when they have performed so well in such stressful conditions. The only exceptions are me and my executive team who will continue with the reductions.
- We will prioritize career development and we will evaluate campaigns for those in a new role or do significantly different work since just before or during the crisis.
- And in areas where we will grow, we will employ business-critical open-minded people in new roles in line with our companies’ priorities.
To those who are affected, thank you for everything you have created, built, supported, produced, sold and the countless other contributions you have made to our work at Vox Media. The decisions made today are not a reflection of your work or success, but of a devastating pandemic that transformed the economy and companies around the world. The rest of us who are not affected today will also be deeply affected by the departure of our colleagues.
I know this is a particularly difficult time because everyone is also dealing with the layered strains of health, safety, parenting, loneliness, burnout and general insecurity. I would like to remind you of the various benefits of mental health that we have detailed in previous communications. Faced with many challenges, we continue to do our best work and serve our target groups and customers remotely while treating each other with empathy and compassion. I could not be more grateful or proud. It is your spirit and commitment to your work and to each other that gives me full confidence that Vox Media is uniquely positioned for renewed growth, continued industry leadership and success in a post-pandemic economy.
Leaders, leaders and business partners within People & Culture will reach out to people today to discuss their employment status and I will be hosting a hands-on meeting for all employees who want to attend later this afternoon.
Publication: The CNBC parent company NBCUniversal is an investor in Vox Media.
SE: Vox Media’s Jim Bankoff on the acquisition of New York Magazine